2nd Annual Reception for Diverse Law Students

January 31, 2017 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
1251 Avenue of the Americas
1251 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
Tara Alvergue

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
5:30 pm | Networking & Registration 
6:15 pm | Panel Discussion 
7:30 pm | Reception

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
1251 Avenue of the Americas, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10020
*entrance on West 50th Street


Six accomplished diverse lawyers who are leaders in their fields will discuss the challenges they faced along the road to success and how they created opportunities out of those challenges. 

Moderated by Portia R. Moore, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


Ahsaki Benion
Senior Director and Assistant Counsel, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Ahsaki Benion is Senior Director and Assistant Counsel in the in-house legal department of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).  Ahsaki began her career as a corporate securities attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft before transitioning into the non-profit sector.  Ahsakinow handles corporate legal matters for departments across the ASPCA, from its multi-faceted Development department to its Anti-Cruelty Group. Ahsaki received her B.A. from Amherst College and holds a law degree from Yale Law School.

Conway Ekpo 
Broker Dealer Counsel, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

 Conway Ekpo serves as In-House Counsel at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he is part of a team of legal professionals advising the bank's Global Wealth & Investment Management division.  Conway is also an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers School of Law - Newark, where he teaches a course on New York civil practice. Prior to joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Conway worked as an associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP, Riker Danzig LLP and the New York office of Heller Ehrman LLP.  Conway is a founding member of 1844, a group of black male lawyers practicing in New York City in large law firms and in-house legal departments for Fortune 500 companies; the group’s name is in reference to the year that the first black person, Macon Bolling Allen, was admitted to practice law in America.    Conway earned his B.S. at The University of Kansas and his J.D. at Rutgers University School of Law – Newark.

Mariko Hirose 
Senior Staff Attorney, New York Civil Liberties Union

 Mariko Hirose is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation.   She is also an adjunct professor at the Fordham University School of Law, where she teaches a class on privacy in the digital age.  Prior to joining the NYCLU, Mariko was an associate at Outten & Golden LLP, where she represented employees in class action sex discrimination and wage-and-hour cases. She was also the William J. Brennan fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated cases raising free speech and privacy issues.  Mariko received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Stanford Law School. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ari Joseph 
Director of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, Brown Rudnick

 Ari Joseph is the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at Brown Rudnick and, before that, was Diversity Initiatives Manager at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, focusing on the design and implementation of law firm initiatives related to the recruitment and retention of women and professionals from diverse backgrounds.  After graduating from law school, Ari practiced law as an associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.  He left the practice of law to teach 7th and 8th grade in East Palo Alto and then served as Director of Legal Education at Legal Outreach, training law and college students on substantive areas of the law and pedagogical techniques.  Ari serves as chair of the New York City Bar Association's Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee, is a member of the Hunter College Pre-Law Advisory Board, and was a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow.   Ari received his B.A. from University of Wisconsin – Madison and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Lorine Pendleton 
U.S. Director of Business Development, Dentons

 After practicing law for two years with a boutique entertainment firm, Lorine left the practice of law to begin a career in business development.  She is currently the U.S. Director of Business Development at Dentons.   Before that, Lorine held positions as director of business development and director of sales at technology and media companies (including Community Connect/BlackPlanet/Asian Avenue/MiGente and SelectMinds) and at a number of prominent law firms.     An active angel investor and advisor to early stage companies, as well as a founder and  member of the Board of Directors of TEDxHarlemLorine is frequently featured in the media and was named by Marie Claire magazine as one of the “50 Most Connected Women in America.”    Lorinereceived her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from New York Law School.

 Carol Robles-Román 
President and CEO, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense & Education Fund

 Carol Robles-Román is the President and CEO of Legal Momentum – The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, a women’s rights advocacy organization in the forefront of today’s battle for equality.  Carol was Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for 12 years, where she spearheaded public-private partnerships in judicial administration, domestic violence, enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and human trafficking.  Prior to that Carol held executive and operations positions at the New York State Unified Court System,  was Senior Vice President/General Counsel of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company and practiced law as an associate at Battle Fowler.   Carol co-chairs the New York City Council Young Women’s Initiative Advisory Council, a first-of-its-kind initiative to create intergenerational leadership for girls of color.   She is a 2015 Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow and a Vital Voices Global Ambassador, which connects global women leaders with women executives.  Carol has a B.A. from Fordham University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.